This episode’s guest is Eric Daams, the co-founder of Studio 164a (creators of the WP Charitable WordPress plugin), who talks about the niche industry of WordPress plugin development. After studying history and Spanish in university, Eric discovered he had a profound interest in coding and eventually used this passion to create WP Charitable, WordPress’ top-rated donation plug-in. We start off our interview by asking our guest to discuss why he believes WordPress has continued to grow over the past decade and if he sees another platform overtaking it in the near future. Afterward, Eric delves into his personal story and shares how difficult it was initially to develop a clientele base for his plugin. The show then concludes with our guest outlining the current health of WP Charitable as well as the marketing strategies he is currently implementing in order to further grow the plugin further.What we talk about
- The advantages of WordPress and its future viability
- Developing a dedicated client base
- Moving from freelancing to starting your own company
- Marketing strategies suited to digital service providers
- https://www.wpcharitable.com/ - WP Charitable’s website
- https://au.linkedin.com/in/ericdaams - Eric on LinkedIn
- https://twitter.com/ericnicolaas - Eric on Twitter
Disclaimer: This transcript was generated automatically and as such, may contain various spelling and syntax errors
[00:00:00] Eric: [00:00:00] You know, and so you kind of come away feeling like you’re a bit of a cheapskate, even though you say just donating, you’re like you’re actually giving your own money. And, um, but you still kind of coming away with this sort of unsatisfied,
[00:00:13] Intro: [00:00:13] Welcome to the future tribe podcast, where we’re all about taking your future to the next level, whether it is interviewing guests or unpacking strategies, you know, we will be talking about getting things done and backing you a fellow optimistic, go getter. And now as always, here’s your host, the formidable fortunate and highly favored Germaine Muller.
[00:00:37] Germaine: [00:00:37] Hello, future tribe. Welcome to this episode of the podcast.
[00:00:41] And on this episode, we’ve got Eric Daams from WP Charitable. How are you, Eric?
[00:00:47] Eric: [00:00:47] I’m good. Thanks Germ,aine.
[00:00:48] Germaine: [00:00:48] Tell us a bit about WP Charitable and what you do.
[00:00:53] Eric: [00:00:53] Yeah. So WP Charitable, uh, well, charitable is a donation plugin. Yeah for WordPress [00:01:00] and it helps nonprofits and organizations, or even individuals accept donations on their website and they can do that themselves.
[00:01:10] They can just install the plugin and start collecting donations. And so on WP charitable.com. We offer support and sort of maintenance. And we also sell a series of atoms that people can, can purchase to add additional fee. So the core plugin is free. Charitable itself is free, and then we have. Additional plugins that do extra things that depending on where you are in the world or what your needs are as an organization, you may, you may need those.
[00:01:38] Germaine: [00:01:38] Yeah. What, what leads you to begin the business and how many, how many of you are, does it take to sort of run the plugin?
[00:01:49] Eric: [00:01:49] So. I it’s going back a while. So, so my, my business partner and I stand in he’s in his, in Bendigo I’m up here in Darwin [00:02:00] and we started developing a few products for the invited marketplaces.
[00:02:05] So like theme, forest, and code Canyon, but the two main ones that we focused on and. One of our, well, our most successful one that we had on there ever was a WordPress theme, which was a crowd funding scene. And it was built around a plugin providing pride floating features, basically, which was actually used quite heavily by nonprofits as well.
[00:02:28] Because, you know, it’s a similar kind of concept essentially, and it basically provided that basic donation facility. And that, that did that did well. That was our most successful products on there, but the plugin that we built it around eventually. Was sold off to a different company than it originally created it.
[00:02:47] And that company actually had a competing product, which they obviously prioritize. And this other one that we’d based our whole theme around gut based sort of cost aside and retired. [00:03:00] So we, we maintain support for that for, for quite a while, but that was kind of the point at which we. We saw the need for a good donation kind of tool for WordPress, particularly when we sort of really started looking, which was around mid 2014, there, there really wasn’t that many good options.
[00:03:20] Like there was a lot of options. We’ve had to take donations with PayPal, but then if you were wanting to use any other payment gateway or in your part of the world where you actually can’t take PayPal, which. You know, not, not that many places in the world, but there’s some pretty significant regions of the world where that is the case.
[00:03:39] You, you know, that there wasn’t actually that many options and plus the. In terms of what was available, sort of outside of the WordPress world and in sort of more like hosted platforms for nonprofits, there was like a lot the platforms basically, which offered a whole lot of it, additional features and stuff that you really just [00:04:00] couldn’t do with WordPress, not that easily.
[00:04:02] And so that was, that was our focus from the start is kind of actually. Create something that, that kind of provided a bit of an alternative there with a very different Cox cost structure, both for us and for the nonprofit, which actually makes it much cheaper for them in the long run
[00:04:19] Germaine: [00:04:19] once, once and utilized,
[00:04:20] Eric: [00:04:20] I guess.
[00:04:21] Yeah. I mean, it doesn’t even take that long. It really, it comes down to how many days you accept, you know, if you, if you, maybe if you get, if you’re collecting less than. You know, a thousand dollars of donations or 2000 nodes of donations a year, then maybe a hosted platform
[00:04:37] Germaine: [00:04:37] is good.
[00:04:37] Eric: [00:04:37] But once you, once you start getting much more than that, and if you’re on a platform which like most of them charges you on each step donation, like a small transaction fee, then, then that really quickly adds up.
[00:04:51] Germaine: [00:04:51] Yeah. Yeah. So put us, put us on a timeline. You mentioned 2014, but when did you originally develop the [00:05:00] theme or were you always sort of developing for code Canyon and ThemeForest and for listeners who are not, not, not aware of ThemeForest and card Canyon, I’ve heard Kenyan space be a place where you can buy.
[00:05:11] Plugins and theme forest is a place
[00:05:13] Eric: [00:05:13] for templates for
[00:05:14] Germaine: [00:05:14] WordPress. So you guys are very heavily invested in WordPress. I am a huge fan at Fugett theory, we use WordPress 99% of the time, unless someone has a specific request for, for a platform. But yeah, it is on a, on a timeline. So when, when was the crowdfunding theme first developed by you guys?
[00:05:34] Eric: [00:05:34] That’s a good question. Probably about. Probably that 20 2012, 2013. And wait and wait. So we’d had a few other products before that. I think we probably launched our first one may be around sorta early 2010.
[00:05:52] Germaine: [00:05:52] Like at that point of launching products, we always like out of school, always
[00:05:58] Eric: [00:05:58] into sort
[00:05:59] Germaine: [00:05:59] of the [00:06:00] development side of things, or
[00:06:01] Eric: [00:06:01] I know in fact, out of a uni, I studied. History and Spanish. And then my brothers ran a travel Woodside, a tribal community. And I, I started working for them as sort of like a community manager or whatever.
[00:06:19] And through doing that, then I sort of, I set up a couple of blogs and discovered that I was actually really interested in writing code. So I was teaching myself and, and, but they didn’t really need somebody else. That was. At my level as, as a developer, I suppose. So. And, and so then I sort of slowly worked my way into working freelance, um, yeah.
[00:06:44] As a developer. So I would take on at this point. Uh, so there’s probably a mid twenties.
[00:06:51] Germaine: [00:06:51] How old are you now?
[00:06:52] Eric: [00:06:52] 25, 26. I don’t think I asked you, maybe I am now 35. I guess 17 years ago. [00:07:00] Yeah. So this was about 10 years ago. Now. It must’ve been before. I must have been younger than that. Actually, it must’ve been more like 24.
[00:07:05] So basically I started, I started freelancing as a developer, took on whatever I could find and just really worked hard on taking in initially fairly small projects to really build my knowledge in what I could do. And. I did really enjoy the, sort of the freedom of freelancing, but didn’t really enjoy having a whole lot of deadlines from a whole lot of different clients.
[00:07:30] So that was something that then as I experienced that, and the idea of building products was really appealing as a way of having passive income. But, but in the long run of actually having something where, you know, I could kind of sit the. Set the goals set, set the direction of, of what I’m building rather than having that in the client’s hands.
[00:07:54] And so, so that was for me how, how it kinda got into that. My business [00:08:00] partner now was he he’s a designer. He was working for a printing company in, in Melbourne and. I would be the developer on some of their, their sort of design projects. So they run a sort of a web design work as well. And I would be the, I would be the developer side come in as a, as a freelance frame.
[00:08:19] And so we collaborated on quite a few projects that way. And, and our first product, which was probably around the 2009 period was just a really simple plugin, which we built. Which was a client needed. There was a little e-commerce shipping plugin, and we ended up doing the same thing for, to other commerce platforms or e-commerce plugins with WordPress.
[00:08:42] And then we sort of built from there. And then, I don’t know, the crowd funding theme was probably about the fifth or sixth product that we launched and really the first one that. That generated enough sales to really feel like, you know, it was worth the [00:09:00] effort
[00:09:02] Germaine: [00:09:02] you you’d invested. Obviously
[00:09:03] Eric: [00:09:03] by that point, you
[00:09:05] Germaine: [00:09:05] pretty heavily invested into
[00:09:06] Eric: [00:09:06] WordPress.
[00:09:07] Germaine: [00:09:07] Now, I would say today,
[00:09:09] Eric: [00:09:09] WordPress is. I would say almost a no brainer
[00:09:12] Germaine: [00:09:12] if you’re developing. Like, if you’re, if you’re serious about your website
[00:09:17] Eric: [00:09:17] and your marketing,
[00:09:18] Germaine: [00:09:18] I think WordPress, just the fact that it’s open source and gives you so much control and freedom, and that there’s just
[00:09:24] Eric: [00:09:24] so much expertise out there when it comes to WordPress as well.
[00:09:27] It’s just.
[00:09:29] Germaine: [00:09:29] I would say a no brainer. What do you think, do, do you sort of agree, agree with that? Or do you see any other platforms that
[00:09:35] Eric: [00:09:35] make as much sense as
[00:09:36] Germaine: [00:09:36] WordPress?
[00:09:37] Eric: [00:09:37] I mean, ultimately it kind of comes down to, to what your needs are. You know, it’s always going to depend on what your needs are and also who you kind of have around.
[00:09:46] So if you, if you really can’t be bothered doing anything.
[00:09:51] Germaine: [00:09:51] Some
[00:09:51] Eric: [00:09:51] sort of maintain your website at all, and you don’t have anybody on your team that that can do that. Like if you’re a one man show and you [00:10:00] really don’t want to be bothered, then maybe something that’s hosted where you actually really don’t have to worry about.
[00:10:05] That makes makes sense. And if you’ve got, you know, the budget and you’re not. Super low on funds that then oversee. Cause obviously those things work out much more expensive, but in terms of, in terms of flexibility for what you can build, WordPress does really provide quite a lot. And you know, I mean our day to day is really thinking about the nonprofit space for nonprofits.
[00:10:29] It, it, to me, it makes a lot of sense, um, because as well, you know, you have donation plugins like ours, but you also have. We can add on to that. You can add e-commerce so you can add events stuff, and there’s a ton of options there. And there’s, there’s a lot of businesses that have been built up around, around WordPress, and that actually really stand by their product and really work hard to kind of make sure it does what you need it to do.
[00:10:57] And. Yeah. [00:11:00] So I guess, I guess you get that, that flexibility of, I have a lot of different options and a lot of, and just a lot of power and a lot of. A lot of features that I don’t think he could really find it anywhere else. Yeah. I mean,
[00:11:14] Germaine: [00:11:14] I guess all this is to ask you what made you invest into WordPress?
[00:11:20] I mean, yes, you’re not investing directly into WordPress, but by building for WordPress, your, you have to. Make some sort of bet that it’s going to be around because you wouldn’t want to put all your eggs into that basket. And then five years down the line,
[00:11:33] Eric: [00:11:33] it gets superseded. I
[00:11:34] Germaine: [00:11:34] mean, by the time I was just Googling it by the time you sort of got into really into the WordPress space, WordPress was six, seven years old, so old enough, but.
[00:11:46] You know, that was still, I would say in our 2000 and tens, when websites have really whips us, starting to become, you know, one of those things that everyone has to have, and we’re this sort of starting to take, take websites to the next [00:12:00] level. What made you invest into WordPress?
[00:12:03] Eric: [00:12:03] Yeah. So, I mean, initially we ended up, I did actually do quite a bit of work outside WordPress as well.
[00:12:09] And I did also build some products for other platforms and there’s just, I mean, from a, from a product sales point of view, those just never really worked. So they. And I guess maybe we weren’t deep enough into that, that platform in the first place, but we’re pressed as coming from a freelance background where WordPress was generally the way to go on often the, you know, the easiest way to do things and more, the most natural way to set things up and hand it over to a client that that just made sense.
[00:12:42] And so then, and even then at that point, WordPress was already a pretty dominant player, you know, I don’t think there was. I think Drupal was kind of the next biggest thing, but, and it was pretty far off. Really? Yeah. So. It was, I don’t know how much of a [00:13:00] conscientious choice there was there or, or whether it, we just sort of
[00:13:04] Germaine: [00:13:04] fell into it, almost
[00:13:05] Eric: [00:13:05] fell into it.
[00:13:07] Yeah. So, but we, I mean, I’m, I’m glad we did. And then
[00:13:12] Germaine: [00:13:12] definitely.
[00:13:13] Eric: [00:13:13] Yeah. And I mean, I guess to an extent, as well as this, where we saw, well, certainly where, where I felt most comfortable working in terms of how things worked and have things were built and stuff. Yeah, yeah.
[00:13:27] Germaine: [00:13:27] Yeah. Touched on also as an extension of sort of your comfort, the, the money side of things, you know, it, it can get a bit.
[00:13:35] Old sometimes that, especially when you, so you start your own business usually because you don’t want to have a boss telling you what to do. And then it sort of happens
[00:13:45] Eric: [00:13:45] to be that
[00:13:46] Germaine: [00:13:46] your clients, to an extent start telling you what to do and sort of your boss. And then that gets a little bit old or it can get tiring depending on your personality.
[00:13:54] And yeah, by coming up with sort of a product, it changes things a little bit because it’s [00:14:00] not so timeline driven, not so deadline driven, um, and not so. Sort of project deliver, go to the next one. How, how how’s that worked out for you? Because back in 2014, I mean, SAS or software as a service now is. Is everything is it’s sort of, everyone’s saying invest in disaster.
[00:14:19] If you don’t have a SAS product, get a SAS product, I assume, you know, it was still sort of, it was getting traction. It’s not that there wasn’t SAS solutions back then, but it’s obviously much bigger now. How, how do you make leap into what is essentially a software as a service and you just happen to deliver a plugin that.
[00:14:37] You know, conductor, conductor service. How did you jump into that?
[00:14:41] Eric: [00:14:41] We first, so with, with charitable was really the first time where we were, we decided to get off the platforms. So off of Invitae and off of self of theme, forest, and off of code Canyon and, and, and do things our way. And when you, I mean, we’re a bootstrap business.
[00:14:57] So when you. Most of the time when you hear [00:15:00] advice for bootstrap businesses, it’s, you know, like build up your freelance work to a certain extent and that which, which we had, but we probably, we basically did things on a very slim budget and leaves on a very slim budget. So certainly for the first six months, Of off their charitable was launched.
[00:15:21] Sales are super slow and it was pretty, it was challenging. You know, like you, you’d kind of go through through your year, your dark days of thinking, what on earth
[00:15:33] Germaine: [00:15:33] should I have even done this? Should we just pull the plug now?
[00:15:36] Eric: [00:15:36] Or just, will it get better? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, like I remember we, so I think we launched charitable and then like the next month, my family and I, we went to a, we went to Bali for a weeks and I was just, I was sitting there and watching, you know, checking for sales and everything.
[00:15:54] And at that point we were making like maybe, you know, one or two sales and [00:16:00] every, every couple of days, you know, and it was like, we’re talking, you know, maybe two or $300 a week and we’ve got two families kind of. And which are feed with this. Yeah. So anyway, so that was like, that was a scary time and it wasn’t wasn’t that, that easy.
[00:16:16] And certainly it, it took a long time to kind of get to a point where it feels like income’s relatively comfortable. But yeah, I mean, I, I’ve never kind of pictured what we do as a, as a SAS business, per se, because I assess is generally associated with being a. Like a monthly thing as well. And you have kind of that that’s stable, recurring revenue, which we do have to an extent in the sense that we’ve got, like, we’ve got an annual renew, but there’s, it’s tend to get really a bit more mature.
[00:16:48] And I suppose then you’d get with, with the SAS. Yeah. And so, so, but it’s not that. Sort of dependable level of what you can expect that if he got this much, this month, you know, the next month you can expect to [00:17:00] get something similar or, you know, a bit more because presumably you’ll feel the trash. Yeah, yeah.
[00:17:07] Germaine: [00:17:07] Sort of stability
[00:17:08] Eric: [00:17:08] in a minute.
[00:17:09] Germaine: [00:17:09] But before that, How did you start getting your initial clients that you were seeing one or two sales a week now? That’s not too bad. Considering was, was that fairly high touch or, I mean, if you’re sitting in Bali, I’m getting sales coming through, I assume, um, people just went onto a website and purchase that for themselves.
[00:17:29] Is that, is that correct? Is that, is that first assumption, correct?
[00:17:31] Eric: [00:17:31] Yeah. So, so the, the thing, it was at that point as well, but we didn’t actually have that many paid adults. So that there wasn’t actually that much for people to buy. And what was, there was probably not that appealing. Like there’s still, even today I look back and I’m like, why did we launch with that?
[00:17:46] You know, like they’re, they’re kind of the weakest selling products that we’ve got. And so, so what people are buying is actually really cheap as well. And so it actually would take quite a lot of sales of, of those particular, that price point to, to actually make [00:18:00] it, make it worthwhile. But. In terms of how we got clients that was so we charitable is available as a free download on wordpress.org, which is the sort of central repository where it, most WordPress plugins are kept or certainly most, any free WordPress plugin is generally.
[00:18:20] Kept there. And that’s kind of the first place that people will look for a plugin as well. So they’ll just find it, you know, if you type in donation plugin, then, then we’ll be one of the, one of the options that’ll come up. And so it really comes out of that. So it’s basically a freemium kind of model and that really has driven.
[00:18:42] Our sales for the whole time. Okay.
[00:18:45] Germaine: [00:18:45] You don’t really focus on, Oh, you haven’t focused on other channels over the years, or have you experimented with any other sort of lead acquisition channels or, I mean, to an extent, it really just makes sense. Right? It’s available for free. You download it [00:19:00] when you outgrow the free features or either you pay up, look for something
[00:19:04] Eric: [00:19:04] that’s free.
[00:19:05] That does what you want. It to do. Chances are there isn’t anything
[00:19:09] Germaine: [00:19:09] that’s free. And then you look for the
[00:19:11] Eric: [00:19:11] best option. That’s how
[00:19:13] Germaine: [00:19:13] we found you. We were looking for a solution for a client, and there are a lot of solutions out there, but they’re all surprisingly expensive for the features. And they often tie in tie you in to things that like either monthly or annual, just insane amounts annually.
[00:19:30] So I guess it just makes sense that there’s a natural channel, but have you experimented with it with other. Sort of accurate acquisition channels.
[00:19:38] Eric: [00:19:38] Yes, we we’ve done a lot of experimenting. The one thing I will say is that not, I know where’s our. I consider ourselves marketers or I think have much of a natural sort of bent that way.
[00:19:51] So, so our sense of experimentation is we might like a thrown out of, up yeah. That didn’t work. No
[00:20:00] [00:19:59] Germaine: [00:19:59] Facebook or Google ads.
[00:20:01] Eric: [00:20:01] Yeah, mostly I think Facebook we’ve done it a bunch of times. And so we, for the, for most of the time, we haven’t really focused on marketing a whole lot and we haven’t had. Sort of the availability of funds to be able to pay somebody to do that either we did last year, hire a marketing firm to sort of do a marketing audit for us.
[00:20:23] And they recommended that made some, made some good recommendations and we sort of followed through on those. And so we’ve, we’ve put more emphasis on. Content marketing now, basically. And that’s, so that’s our main, other thing that we’re doing at the moment, she, who does that,
[00:20:40] Germaine: [00:20:40] is that sort of,
[00:20:42] Eric: [00:20:42] you have writers involved or do you write
[00:20:44] Germaine: [00:20:44] them, write the articles yourself.
[00:20:46] Eric: [00:20:46] Yeah, we’ve got, we’ve got a couple writers who are, who are working on those for us. Yeah. I mean, I, I did enjoy writing the occasional blog post, but it, I just found it so much time and
[00:20:58] Germaine: [00:20:58] yeah, it’s [00:21:00] surprising. It’s surprising how much time it does. Take, I think when you, when you think about it, logically, you sort of think about it, you know, half an hour, a half an hour to come up with an idea, you know, an hour to write something up a half an hour to proofread, maybe make a few changes, but it’s more realistic that you’ll spend a whole day getting an article right.
[00:21:19] Then, then. Not, but it’s interesting. And it’s wonderful to hear that you’re using content marketing because
[00:21:24] Eric: [00:21:24] inbound I’ve been invested in
[00:21:26] Germaine: [00:21:26] inbound for a few years
[00:21:27] Eric: [00:21:27] now,
[00:21:28] Germaine: [00:21:28] and we do whistle working. We’re working on sort of a new website. And when we do we’ll have this avalanche of sort of new content, but is that working well for you?
[00:21:38] The content market?
[00:21:40] Eric: [00:21:40] Yeah. I mean, there’s, it is. And I think it keeps things fairly fresh. It’s also hard to tell at the moment, because. Besides the content marketing. We also did a lot of sort of onsite optimization and, and sort of restructured how we were presenting ourselves on the, on our, on our website basically [00:22:00] mentally or yes.
[00:22:01] Yeah, we did. We did all that internally and we saw, we saw sort of an immediate boost from that. And so, you know, so hats off to the marketing agency that gave us those tips. So, so we saw a big boost from that. And then. The kit and that’s actually led to a big boost in sales as well, just because I think, and that’s not just us.
[00:22:24] I think that’s actually the case for a lot of WordPress businesses, because suddenly as a whole and people online, you know, and people that have had. Projects in mind for a while that are suddenly, you know, have the time to build them.
[00:22:39] Germaine: [00:22:39] Yeah. I mean, if, if you live in a developed, I think it’s safe to assume that your time to travel to work and park is probably an hour each way.
[00:22:47] Eric: [00:22:47] So
[00:22:48] Germaine: [00:22:48] right there every week, you’re getting a whole, whole debt working days worth of time back. So I think, yeah, a lot of people have found just that time from, and you know, I’m sure there are a lot of people who. Work from home rather than [00:23:00] work from home. If she get
[00:23:01] Eric: [00:23:01] one, I mean, I’ve done
[00:23:03] Germaine: [00:23:03] quotes to sort of indicate I had the people who I know who go out for two hour lunches while working from home.
[00:23:10] So you find time that way as well. Let’s talk about the team. So is it just you and wares or was there sort of more full time people involved in keeping, keeping this plugin sort of running and what,
[00:23:23] Eric: [00:23:23] what.
[00:23:24] Germaine: [00:23:24] Level of work is there to keep the plugin running
[00:23:26] Eric: [00:23:26] so full time. It is, it is just me in ways. We, and then we have a number of contractors.
[00:23:32] So that’s the, we’ve got two writers who work on that. One of whom she is based in the UK, the other one’s based in the U S. And we’ve got couple guys who are helping on the development side as well. I’m sort of on a freelance or a project by project basis. And we have as well. We have one developer who actually developed one of our, one of the extensions.
[00:23:57] And so she gets, she gets paid as a [00:24:00] commission, basically on the sales of that, that extension. And then on the sales of the bundle, that includes. So she, so she kind of takes she’s in charge of that one, basically in terms of the day to day that that’s basically myself a was sort of. Taking care of that in terms of what’s involved, like to just keep the ship it’s running, it’s, it’s really just answering emails and just supporting really
[00:24:26] Germaine: [00:24:26] presale and support questions,
[00:24:28] Eric: [00:24:28] I guess.
[00:24:29] Yeah. Yeah. And so we can, we can kind of know through that. Relative pretty comfortably between the two of us and pretty comfortably in, you know, not bigger an amount of time. So, you know, a couple of years ago, first of all, I went with my family for a six week trip. And then where’s when with his family for, uh, you know, uh, something like, uh, Four six week trip as well.
[00:24:52] And basically we got by just fine. Like for me while I was away, it was maybe an hour a day coming on and, and just [00:25:00] answering emails. And so I will generally take on the, sort of the more technical questions. Whereas handles a lot of the presale and the, you know, just more general questions about, can it do this or can it do this and
[00:25:13] Germaine: [00:25:13] things like that as I guess you’re the developer.
[00:25:14] So it makes a lot more sense that you can get into the nitty gritty.
[00:25:18] Eric: [00:25:18] Yeah. Yeah. And we do like to go pretty well deep in terms of like really trying to actually solve. The customer’s problem. If we, if we can possibly, including writing, you know, little snippets of code and actually giving people, you know, like it doesn’t do this out of the box, but his, you know, his little lines of code.
[00:25:37] Yeah. Yeah. He’s 15 lines of code that I just wrote and checked and it should work. So just install it using this and bang. You’ve got, you’ve got it working. Yeah. And that’s, I mean, that kind of comes back to why I think WordPress is such an appealing thing for people as well, is that you do actually have that flexibility there.
[00:25:56] You got to kind of have the technical know how to actually build that. But, [00:26:00] you know, for, for our customers, we’re certainly happy to, to be that too, to an extent
[00:26:05] Germaine: [00:26:05] provide that level of support. Yeah. I mean, there are a lot of plugins out there paid ones as well. That wouldn’t even go as far as doing that, they would say, you know, here’s a list of people we trust, who know how to work with our.
[00:26:17] Plugin go talk to them. That’s sort of separate. Cause I guess
[00:26:21] Eric: [00:26:21] they don’t want to
[00:26:22] Germaine: [00:26:22] deal with the level of customizations or, or they’re probably thinking, you know, we, we didn’t want these deadlines. That’s why we’ve created a plugin and now
[00:26:31] Eric: [00:26:31] we might fall into that trap again. Yeah. I mean, there, there’s an extent to that.
[00:26:36] I suppose that in general, in general, it’s worked out. Okay. Sometimes, you know, it is time consuming, definitely time consuming, but at the same time, we’ve, we’ve built up this. Big vast library of actual little workable code that we’ve sent to other customers. And generally what somebody else wants is, is going to be pretty similar if not the same, or if it’s really similar, might be just like, [00:27:00] you know, in like this particular line of code, just swap this for this and you’re done and that’s fine.
[00:27:05] And people can do that. And, and. You know, I think that that’s, that’s been a fairly core part of, of, of our value as a, as a business and as, as how we like to serve customers in terms of just really trying to go above and beyond.
[00:27:21] Germaine: [00:27:21] Yeah. Which is definitely appreciated. I think people. People really appreciate when, when they can just come to you and sort of come up with a solution rather than being sent to X, Y, and Z, especially if
[00:27:33] Eric: [00:27:33] all they’re looking for is a slight
[00:27:35] Germaine: [00:27:35] tweak, not really, you know, added functionality
[00:27:38] Eric: [00:27:38] and, you know,
[00:27:40] Germaine: [00:27:40] Like I said, we, we stumbled across you guys because we were looking for a solution.
[00:27:45] And then we just found that, you know, your support was
[00:27:47] Eric: [00:27:47] just
[00:27:48] Germaine: [00:27:48] fantastic. And to be honest, even if it costs a bit more, it’s always better to work with a plugin or a company that is going to go that extra mile versus a company who are just too rigid and [00:28:00] robust for that sort of thing. Now, before we get into the.
[00:28:03] The finance sort of side of things or the financial side of things. How do you come up with now having a product is fantastic, but staying stagnant, isn’t, isn’t going to do any favors. How do you come up with feature additions and just fundamental sort of code base sort of changes
[00:28:21] Eric: [00:28:21] and upgrades and how
[00:28:23] Germaine: [00:28:23] do you do that?
[00:28:24] And how do you look at
[00:28:25] Eric: [00:28:25] that as a, as a plugin company? Yeah, the, the one thing I will say is that as a, as a. With only two of us working full time and myself, the, the sort of the main developer, there’s a limit, I guess, to how much we can, um, experiment and go, you know, go down. You knew alleys. So to an extent where we’re kind of in terms of how we prioritize things, it really comes down to what our customers need.
[00:28:51] And so if we can, if we can solve those. Problems for customers then that’s, that’s the, that’s the number one thing we’ll look at. If we get [00:29:00] multiple requests for the same kind of feature, and that’s obviously a priority for us as well. So it’s a lot of, it’s kind of customer driven and sort of customer feedback driven then as well with the way.
[00:29:12] You know, like a couple of years ago, GDPR rules came in in the, in Europe and, and that basically like a couple of months where our focus was really on trying to yeah. It creates some, you know, Good tools for GDPR compatibility and really working on that. And then I think a couple months later that the year brought in that strong customer authentication rules, actually, no, that was last year.
[00:29:36] And so that, you know, that was then another, you know, month or two where we were working on, on, on updating our payments. Processing to make sure that, that, that we were sort of able to, you know, be in compliance with that. So some of those changes actually just really force you to, you know, really get that in place.
[00:29:52] But in terms of, I suppose, in terms of what to prioritize, it’s what we, what we can do and, and what [00:30:00] we, what we sense customers need most. And also, I suppose, where we sense there to be a bit of a lack in the other. Options available. So one of our big focuses in the loss in the last couple of years, and we launched this early this year was an update to our charitable and ambassadors extension, which is a peer to peer fundraising extension.
[00:30:22] So peer to peer fundraising in particular is something which is very much dominated by the platforms or more hosted platforms where you generally you’re going to pay per transaction.
[00:30:35] Germaine: [00:30:35] Like, like there’s onto me in the light.
[00:30:36] Eric: [00:30:36] Cool. Yeah, yeah, go fund me. And, you know, I guess it’s slightly different. Like, I mean, nonprofits do use that to an extent, but that there’s platforms like classy, which is a, a US-based one where sometimes you’ll pay a fairly large monthly fee sometimes, or other times you’re actually just paying per transaction.
[00:30:59] Or [00:31:00] other times you actually you’ll get the, as a donor you’ll experience, this you’ll go to donate. And then there’s the, Hey, you know, X platform keeps it free for nonprofits. Would you like to donate an extra 5% to us to keep us going? Which. Which I think is which out of all those models is the one that I like the most, because I think it’s the narcissist for the nonprofit, obviously.
[00:31:23] But as a donor, I think it’s, it’s kinda, it’s kinda crappy. Like, I, I was, I was going to do that and then I’m like, Oh man, I’m just like, I’m already donating. And now I feel like I don’t really want to donate to these guys or I’m like, I’m going to dial them. Like, I’m not going to donate what they’re suggesting, you know?
[00:31:41] And so you kind of come away feeling like. You’re a bit of a cheapskate, even though you’re actually just donating, you’re like, you’re actually giving your own money. And, um, but you still kind of coming away with this sort of unsatisfied feelings. So yeah, I find that one a bit, a bit tricky from a, from a donor point of view, sort of the emotional
[00:31:58] Germaine: [00:31:58] side
[00:31:59] Eric: [00:31:59] of it, [00:32:00] but yeah.
[00:32:00] So I guess in terms of what we choose to prioritize it, it varies a lot at the moment. Our focus is really on some. Major sort of structural changes in terms of how, how charitable works in particularly in relation to the WordPress block editor, which is something that was brought in a, you know, a couple of years ago, or I think the startup last year.
[00:32:24] Yeah. And, and that’s been something that I’ve seen a lot of potential for in terms of how. How we could use it as in charitable. Yes. So that that’s really our focus at the moment. The only other, the other thing I would think of yeah. In terms of our, our payment processors, we’d like to occasionally just do something to try to sort of cover more countries than we normally would.
[00:32:47] And particularly countries that are otherwise pretty underserved as well. So like one of the first ones we did was, was one for South Africa. Which is one of the countries where PayPal, I believe he [00:33:00] cannot create an account at PayPal account if you are in, if you are in South Africa. So that was one of those early options where it was like, well, you know, like the easy way to actually provide something for four.
[00:33:12] You know, it’s a big country and a whole lot of people that what’s your market that,
[00:33:16] Germaine: [00:33:16] you know, almost just growing into, into that space. So yeah, it makes a lot of sense. I think there’s a nice segue talking about sort of customers, our competitors, um, into the financial side of things. So how did you price, how did you, I mean, this is a fairly crowded market, I would say, especially lump in there.
[00:33:39] The hosted options that do some,
[00:33:42] Eric: [00:33:42] something similar to what you guys do. How did you
[00:33:44] Germaine: [00:33:44] price yourselves initially? And how do you continue to look at,
[00:33:47] Eric: [00:33:47] look at how you price yourselves? Yeah, that’s a, that’s a good question. And obviously the pandemics kind of thrown things as well and change that. And I think not just for us, but I think for, for us [00:34:00] competitors as well.
[00:34:00] So we’ve seen some of them bring their process down. Initially we. I think we just, we just had sort of fairly standard kind of per extension price or standard in the sense that that was what other plugins were charging for, you know, similar kind of functionality. I’m not in the donation space, but in that, in other, you know, neighboring kind of, kind of sectors, we did experiment for a while with like a pay what you want kind of model.
[00:34:27] Oh, Yeah, which we did always have like a minimum price and then a suggested price. And, you know, I was really liked that idea because I guess one of the challenges that I found early on was, you know, I mean, it’s one thing to go to a, an organization in, in say, You know, Sydney or Canberra or anywhere in the U S and say, you know, like this is $200 or whatever, $200 U S yeah.
[00:34:54] And that, that generally is affordable for optimization. Yeah. Yeah. [00:35:00] Whereas. To go to an organization in India that has, you know, where that, that is actually way, way, way, way, way out of their budget. And so like that, that con that I’ve always found that it challenge of how to actually make something that’s kind of equitable where, you know, it can kind of work across multiple, you know, across the road and also across organizations of different sizes.
[00:35:23] You know, I mean, you’ve got to, if you’ve got an organization collecting $50 million a year in donations and another one collecting $5,000 a year in donations, like, is it fair that they pay the same price
[00:35:36] Germaine: [00:35:36] they can afford is fundamentally going to be different? Isn’t it?
[00:35:40] Eric: [00:35:40] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, so I’ve always found that a, I guess a challenge, I guess, the way other platforms do cut, you know, so that is by actually doing the per transaction kind of thing, because you do solve that, but then that works out to be way more expensive.
[00:35:54] And to be honest, it doesn’t necessarily cost us that much more support. [00:36:00] For somebody that that’s actually raising that much money. So, but yeah, so we did this, we did this pay what you want thing for quite a while. And, and it was enjoyable. It was interesting, but we eventually dropped it largely because I think it confused people.
[00:36:19] And in general, like in the end, 90% of the time people chose the minimum amount. Anyway. So then it was, I think we ended up just actually sitting the. Setting a fixed price and it was something like that. And we just, we used to make sure that if, if anybody reaches out and says, you know, like this is like way beyond us, you know, if they’re, if they’re, I guess, willing to do that and, you know, get in touch and say, you know, like w this is actually a bit outside of our price range.
[00:36:49] And we generally try to. Make it kind of help out easier for them. So, so we did to, in terms of how we then structured our process, that’s one thing that we did [00:37:00] change after the marketing audit last year as well. We kind of bumped our process up a bit, particularly in comparison to our sort of major competitor within WordPress.
[00:37:09] We. We generally are 30 to 50% cheaper. And so for some people that that’s the decision maker, you know, like if it’s 30% cheaper and it does effectively the same thing, then, then that was enough.
[00:37:26] Germaine: [00:37:26] Yeah. And, and, and for anyone listening, if you’re ever sort of weighing it up, I always find, and. You probably will cringe when I say this as a sort of the person has to respond to it, but I’m
[00:37:37] Eric: [00:37:37] asking a few presale questions
[00:37:39] Germaine: [00:37:39] or just one question and seeing how long that response takes.
[00:37:43] If it takes five days, I think then I go to the
[00:37:46] Eric: [00:37:46] other
[00:37:47] Germaine: [00:37:47] company and sort of ask a similar question and see how long that takes it. It’s another way of differentiating if price, um, cause price, isn’t always everything, right? Some things can be shaped, but. You know,
[00:37:58] Eric: [00:37:58] it’s cheap for a [00:38:00] reason
[00:38:00] Germaine: [00:38:00] and where some things are cheap, but it’s just that they just chose to pro price it that way.
[00:38:05] So if anyone listening, that’s, that’s another, another tip as to how you can compare them. And like you said, Eric, you know, if two plugins do effectively the same thing, then why wouldn’t you pick the one that costs less.
[00:38:20] Eric: [00:38:20] Yeah. Yeah. So, so I mean, to be honest, we are, there’s two of us that work from this full time versus, uh, uh, what I, I think is a team of probably closer to 10 people.
[00:38:33] And so, you know, like there’s our cost. As a businesses is just way lower. So for us, it’s it’s okay. And we, we know we, we get by just fine during this and we’re able to grow. So, you know, it’s also kind of looking at just, just what our needs are and how we can, we can still invest into the business and everything and provide the support that we want to provide.
[00:38:57] But I’m still make it affordable to nonprofits. [00:39:00] So it’s, it’s, it’s not easy. Um, yeah, certainly now with the, with the pandemics. So we’ve actually run a 40% off sale for the last, since the startup April, I believe. And that will be kind of wrapping up the, the end of the day, end of this month, I think, which is July.
[00:39:17] Okay. But then we’ll, we’re going to have a look at our processing and, you know, adjust it based on. The fact that basically organizations are under the pump financially. So yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s never, it’s never that easy. It never, there’s never really a clear right answer. Um, and sometimes, you know, potentially you could bump the price up more and make more money, but there’s also the flip side that you’re excluding certain, you know, customers and, and that becomes much harder for them.
[00:39:50] Especially given that I
[00:39:51] Germaine: [00:39:51] guess your serving more or less the not-for-profits space, it starts yeah. Become even more of a, you know, there’s a social sort of [00:40:00] purpose,
[00:40:01] Eric: [00:40:01] at least, you know,
[00:40:02] Germaine: [00:40:02] a small social
[00:40:03] Eric: [00:40:03] purpose and where you can obviously.
[00:40:06] Germaine: [00:40:06] Enable more people. That’s always a positive thing now for the next few questions, I’m happy to work with Rangers if you’re not comfortable giving exact numbers, but could you give us an idea of how many costs as you, you sort of work well has, and, and, and how you look at it.
[00:40:20] Do you look at it monthly or annually? And then, um, if we can talk about
[00:40:24] Eric: [00:40:24] also
[00:40:25] Germaine: [00:40:25] how you’ve experienced that sort of is there, is that stable a year on year? If we could touch those, those points.
[00:40:34] Eric: [00:40:34] Yeah. So we don’t, I mean, I don’t focus a great deal on the number of customers. We generally look more at the.
[00:40:42] Well, the roll revenue per month. And then also then sort of the number of sales number of sales varies generally about somewhere between 60 and a hundred per month. And that the average sale amount varies quite substantially. So [00:41:00] we get sales that are maybe 40 bucks, then ranging up to $700. S that was pre pandemic because at the moment that that’s down to 450 after the sales, but yeah.
[00:41:13] So in terms of revenue that that’s, we’re sort of just around the 10 to 15 Mark in U S dollars and that. But that, that varies very much. And it’s hard to predict, to be honest, it’s really hard to know whether, if we turn this sale off, what things will look like then,
[00:41:31] Germaine: [00:41:31] and I guess, especially for you guys, you touched on this earlier, you’re selling stuff
[00:41:36] Eric: [00:41:36] annually.
[00:41:37] So it’s not sort of this
[00:41:37] Germaine: [00:41:37] monthly recurring revenue. It’s almost annually recurring revenue, but
[00:41:42] Eric: [00:41:42] 12 months is also a lot of
[00:41:44] Germaine: [00:41:44] time for people to one realize the value, but
[00:41:46] Eric: [00:41:46] to realize that they. Aren’t making use of it, for
[00:41:49] Germaine: [00:41:49] example, because you know, and part of that might not even be your fault. Like if they, I spent 450 us dollars, maybe they way over paid and realized that, you know, if they went on a [00:42:00] transaction based hosted system, they actually don’t get a lot of donations and it just isn’t justified.
[00:42:06] So I guess it adds that. The, the blessing and a curse sort of that you’ve got a handle there, but then you, it’s interesting that you look at it
[00:42:14] Eric: [00:42:14] monthly because I guess, I mean, 12 months again is a long time, so you can’t really look at it annually, but, and
[00:42:20] Germaine: [00:42:20] you make sales on a monthly
[00:42:22] Eric: [00:42:22] basis.
[00:42:22] Germaine: [00:42:22] So your, I guess every month, trying to make sure, yeah.
[00:42:27] Eric: [00:42:27] To an extent, I mean, we, we’re less worried about it now than we were a safe two years ago because we’ve. Been much more conservative, basically early on, kind of we’d have a few weeks of really good sales and then we’d pay ourselves a bit more and then certainly it would dry up and you’d be like, ah, man, we’re going to pay us.
[00:42:48] I was like, barely anything this week. So we’ve gotten much smarter about that and much more conservative in terms of how we, you know, sort of. Pay ourselves over time. And so we actually have, you know, [00:43:00] a reasonable buffer of savings built up. And so if, if we have a low month, which do happen, so at the moment, summer holidays in the U S is actually generally a fairly quiet time.
[00:43:11] I guess there’s less agencies kind of building sites for clients and there’s, I guess nobody wants to be doing that. And then. December is obviously a bit of a December and January tend to be pretty dead as well after maybe the first week of December up to maybe the second or third week of January things start picking up again.
[00:43:32] So yeah, there’s, you know, there’s, there’s obviously months there where we know it’s, it’s pretty cool. Be pretty slow. What we do for the most part is, is. We keep track of, of sales obviously each month. And I’ll generally try to compare that to the previous, the same month, a year before to see how we’re tracking in terms of that.
[00:43:50] And that’s a much better measure kind of, of how we’re, we’re going in terms of growing. And that’s been encouraging. And
[00:44:00] [00:44:00] Germaine: [00:44:00] generally found that you sort of can grow or do you grow year on year?
[00:44:05] Eric: [00:44:05] Yeah, well, certainly since, um, we were, we were fairly stagnant leading up to the, this marketing audit that we kind of ran last year.
[00:44:13] And so that’s sort of really kickstarted us in a, in a much more positive direction. And yeah. So since, since then, we, we can definitely see there’s, there’s an uptake in terms of sales year on year. That, that things are growing particularly new sales as well. Yeah. That’s exciting. New customers.
[00:44:31] Germaine: [00:44:31] Do you also track your sort of, uh, the
[00:44:36] Eric: [00:44:36] clients who say started three
[00:44:37] Germaine: [00:44:37] years ago?
[00:44:37] Do you track whether they keep renewing, do you touch base with them if they, if they don’t do do do that sort of thing. I mean, that’s much more, I guess, active slash one could call aggressive sort of selling. Do you do go to that length or is it.
[00:44:52] Eric: [00:44:52] Is it fairly
[00:44:53] Germaine: [00:44:53] passive on, on that side?
[00:44:55] Eric: [00:44:55] No, it’s fairly passive.
[00:44:57] I think we’d need more people to be humble to [00:45:00] do that
[00:45:01] Germaine: [00:45:01] job. Right.
[00:45:03] Eric: [00:45:03] Track what customers are doing.
[00:45:04] Germaine: [00:45:04] Are they, you know, are they
[00:45:07] Eric: [00:45:07] like,
[00:45:07] Germaine: [00:45:07] did they add it to their cart? Like logged in, did that an extension to the car? Why didn’t they buy it? They bought it 12
[00:45:14] Eric: [00:45:14] months ago. Why haven’t
[00:45:15] Germaine: [00:45:15] they renewed
[00:45:17] Eric: [00:45:17] all that? Stuff’s at full time job.
[00:45:19] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And, and I mean, we’d be interested in doing that eventually, but, but for now I think at the way, things are working is satisfying enough for us. And it works well enough for us, but yeah, but certainly tracking, yeah. When people are dropping off or trying to reduce the number of times that people drop off is is, is something that we’re focusing on as well.
[00:45:42] And, but probably less thinking about. In, in terms of somebody that’s been there for maybe two years and then drops out, but more in terms of somebody that actually you just installs it and then doesn’t sort of keep going with it after, you know, you know, th th just sort of gives it a bad 10 minute, try and then, and then moves on [00:46:00] that.
[00:46:00] So that, that sort of early impression is what we’re, we’re focusing on him on, on improving. Mostly at the moment. Yeah. I mean, I guess once somebody has been a customer with us for, for a while that generally they, if they’re going to leave, it’s either because feature-wise, they actually just need something different or functionality wise or potentially they often the person that actually buys the product buys.
[00:46:26] Our products is actually the, the developer or the designer or the agency that that’s working with, the nonprofit. And, and sometimes there’s a bit of a miscommunication in terms of like, who’s going to pay this renewal each year. And so that, that gets bit hazy. So there’s a bit of that, but in general, we’ve we retain people pretty well.
[00:46:47] Well, I think we’re fairly happy with that. And I guess once people have been in touch with our support once or twice and know that. If they ever do have a problem, there’s a solution there. And at least there’s people that are willing [00:47:00] to help out as much as
[00:47:01] Germaine: [00:47:01] they possibly can. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Have you ever thought about switching to sort of a monthly thing?
[00:47:06] It’s it’s not, it’s not the done thing in the, in the WordPress plugins
[00:47:10] Eric: [00:47:10] space, it’s usually an annual, it just happens. I think
[00:47:13] Germaine: [00:47:13] WordPress
[00:47:14] Eric: [00:47:14] developers just think about annual. I think it
[00:47:16] Germaine: [00:47:16] makes a lot more sense for developers and agencies, but have you thought about having sort of a monthly option, as I said ever crossed your mind?
[00:47:24] Eric: [00:47:24] Yeah, it definitely has. It definitely has like the stability of that wood is definitely appealing. And also I think for. It’s a bit of a hard comparison sometimes for somebody to say, ah, so this thing is like $300 or $200, but there’s another thing I’m looking at is only like $25 a month. And you know, like I said, like that comparison, even though basically price-wise, they’re roughly the same.
[00:47:51] Is is actually seems really difficult. I think the thing, the reason why it’s, it’s hard to kind of do it in WordPress as well, is that if you charge per month, say, I mean, [00:48:00] so maybe we’d go to like $25 a month, the way in terms of what you get. When you buy, as you get all the downloadable plugins, then you can install them.
[00:48:09] And you’re good to go, but obviously if you’ve only paid $25, you can then cancel immediately. And you’ve got shade, got all those plugins and because of the license, and this is fine, you can actually. Continue using it as long as you want, regardless of whether you maintain that subscription. And that’s fine.
[00:48:26] That’s like, that’s the way the GPL license works and we’re okay with that. But that’s one of the challenges. And I think one of the reasons why you don’t see that so often in WordPress is it’s, it’s a lot of risk on, on the, on the business side of things, the developer
[00:48:41] Germaine: [00:48:41] side, because you’re handing over.
[00:48:42] Yeah. Your code base, essentially all your, your code,
[00:48:45] Eric: [00:48:45] all your IPS, just,
[00:48:48] Germaine: [00:48:48] and then I guess by annualizing it, you can ask for a lot more
[00:48:51] Eric: [00:48:51] upfront
[00:48:52] Germaine: [00:48:52] and then you
[00:48:52] Eric: [00:48:52] can minimize your risk.
[00:48:54] Germaine: [00:48:54] I mean, you guys still provide a 30 day money back guarantee. So, and a lot of plugins
[00:48:59] Eric: [00:48:59] do that [00:49:00] where,
[00:49:00] Germaine: [00:49:00] you know, there’s even no free trial.
[00:49:02] It’s just. Pay up. And if you don’t like it days, that’s fine. We’ll give you your money back. No questions asked, which takes a bit of getting used to it. Switch of mindset for the average consumer. But I think developers and agencies are very much used to that sort of model
[00:49:17] Eric: [00:49:17] where it’s sort of, yeah.
[00:49:19] Germaine: [00:49:19] 14 day free
[00:49:19] Eric: [00:49:19] trial that converts into X, Y, Z.
[00:49:22] Germaine: [00:49:22] No, that’s that’s. That’s awesome. Now, before we wrap up any mistakes, come to mind, um, you you’ve sort of touched on a few things like the pay, what you want sort of pricing structure, but anything else come to mind that you’d avoid next time around?
[00:49:35] Eric: [00:49:35] That’s a good question. I mean, realistically, there’s probably plenty of things.
[00:49:42] I probably. So the way we first launched charitable, we put it out and I built up a whole lot of different extensions that were kind of at various stages of progress. And we probably should have launched with something smaller initially just to get the [00:50:00] feedback and get that going rather than take a really long time investing into a whole lot of stuff, which, you know, some of which is, is, is obviously not.
[00:50:11] Really been as useful to people as, as we’d anticipated initially. Yeah. So, so I guess really just, just I think smaller steps, I think, especially at the start and really working out what people need. And so like thinking now to say, Our redevelopment of our ambassadors extension, which we wrapped up early this year, which I talked about earlier, that really was something that was built out of years of customer feedback based on what we had created.
[00:50:40] And so we were able to create something that really nails it for, and that actually really does exactly what need in a much better way. And we just, we just didn’t have the, all that knowledge built up. So, you know, like there’s, there’s actually a lot of value in building up yeah. Knowledge of what customers need.
[00:50:58] And what a lot of customers need, not [00:51:00] just like one customer, but actually what a lot of people need and where the overlap is and how you can actually solve that problem for a lot of people. So that’s probably the biggest, I mean, the biggest thing, you know, I think there’s not a lot, I, I sort of regret about it.
[00:51:16] Maybe if we invest in more time than marketing, but at the same time, you know, it is what it is and we’re not. No, we’re not marketers. So
[00:51:24] Germaine: [00:51:24] it’s sort of about, this is just looking back and sort of thinking, okay, you know, if someone else is saying, Hey, Eric, I’m about to start a plugin business. What would you recommend?
[00:51:33] Not necessarily about what you would change, but just about heads up, you know, this is, this is something that we did and you know, don’t, don’t go, don’t go for launching the plugin with 10 different extensions that are
[00:51:45] Eric: [00:51:45] not all, not quite
[00:51:46] Germaine: [00:51:46] polished. Just maybe launched with two extensions that are just.
[00:51:50] Eric: [00:51:50] Like just function amazingly
[00:51:52] Germaine: [00:51:52] or, or, you know, maybe just focus on marketing as much or that looking back and going, [00:52:00] what would we change? Because I think it’s just, it’s a learnable and a teachable moment, so just helps out the listeners. Awesome. Where can people find out more about. You
[00:52:10] Eric: [00:52:10] and what you guys do.
[00:52:12] So you can find me on Twitter at Eric, Nick loss. It’s E R I C N I C O L AA S. That’s and that’s my handle most of most just about everywhere, but Twitter’s really the only one I check occasionally, but for the rest of WPcharitable.com is where you can find out more about charitable and you can get in touch with us.
[00:52:35] And if you are a nonprofit or you’re working with a nonprofit, then you know, we’d love to hear from you and tell you whether your needs are something that we can, we can sort of solve for you.
[00:52:46] Germaine: [00:52:46] Fantastic. Thanks for that. Are you ready for the top 12?
[00:52:50] Eric: [00:52:50] Yeah, sure.
[00:52:51] Germaine: [00:52:51] Okay. Let’s get into it. Top three podcasts or books that you recommend.
[00:52:57] Eric: [00:52:57] So there’s, I’ve actually got [00:53:00] so many books. One thing this year in particular, I’ve been trying to read a lot more books by we’re really limiting myself in terms of, I don’t want to read just. Books by white men, which is generally what, like I grew up reading. And I suppose that, that over the last few years of trying to sort of, you know, actually really discover new authors and it’s actually really challenging, like when you sort of start, sit down and look at it and you think, Oh my gosh.
[00:53:27] Yeah, that one, that one that was like, every, this is all very, like, this is very white book, short white guys writing books. Yeah. Yeah. And so, so I mean, so I’ve really enjoyed actually this year, discovering just some really amazing other authors from other backgrounds, whether they’re African American or Aboriginal writers, listen to Archie Roach’s memoirs at the moment, which is, which is just fantastic.
[00:53:53] So, you know, in that vein, in terms of books that I’ve, that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and found [00:54:00] very powerful, just mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Which there was a movie of that that came out, I think just like earlier this year or maybe last year and that that’s, it’s really, really quite powerful. It really quiet.
[00:54:14] Yeah. Quite an amazing group. And just discovering some amazing sort of authors as well. Like Alice Walker, I just finished reading the color purple, which was, you know, there was a movie of that, like. Yeah, 30 years ago, but I’d never really sort of read the book. And that was really cool as well. Very powerful story.
[00:54:34] It’s just some amazing stories. So in terms of podcasts, I mean the main ones really, I listen mostly to the New York times daily just to get my news so that I can at least kind of have a vague idea of what’s going on. What’s going on. Yeah. Yeah, and I love that part of money podcast as well.
[00:54:54] Germaine: [00:54:54] Cool, awesome, good solid recommendations there.
[00:54:58] Top three software or tools that you [00:55:00] can’t live without.
[00:55:01] Eric: [00:55:01] So there, I would say vs. Code and visual studio code is what I use for development. We use as well. We use Slack for sort of communication. And then, I mean, those would be the two biggest things. And then probably just Gmail, you know, I mean, or email in general.
[00:55:20] And for me, that’s, that’s using Gmail, but that, that that’s really the three sort of killer things that we need.
[00:55:28] Germaine: [00:55:28] Two questions that,
[00:55:29] Eric: [00:55:29] how do you handle your support? What software do
[00:55:30] Germaine: [00:55:30] you use for support ticketing? And do you
[00:55:33] Eric: [00:55:33] recommend them? Yeah. Yeah. So for that we use, we use a company protocoled groove, groove.
[00:55:40] I think it’s groove, hq.com, which
[00:55:43] Germaine: [00:55:43] is
[00:55:44] Eric: [00:55:44] similar if you’re no, the kind of that, that sort of support software space to help scout is another one like that. But we really liked group. I think that it’s a good product and we. We’ve been, that’s what we’ve been using ever [00:56:00] since we sort of launched charitable and I’ve been really happy with it.
[00:56:02] And so, yeah, definitely check it out. Yeah. So do you use
[00:56:07] Germaine: [00:56:07] anything to analyze numbers? Like your, your sales churn, things like that?
[00:56:14] Eric: [00:56:14] There’s
[00:56:14] Germaine: [00:56:14] a, there’s a few tools out there that I’ve seen that sort of generates, you know, this is your churn rate. This is how you can improve to use anything like that to really go through your finances or do you just use it?
[00:56:26] Do you do any of that? Like,
[00:56:29] Eric: [00:56:29] yeah. I use Google sheets and I. Uh, I’ve, I I’m actually a real spreadsheet nerd. I actually really like building elaborate spreadsheets. So, and that is one of my elaborate spreadsheets that I’ve got. I just keeps track of all that. Yeah. So that’s actually the main thing there.
[00:56:48] And then we use like NYOB for, for accounting, this, that side of things, but that doesn’t sort of give the insight into the sales as well as. As well as my lasers.
[00:57:00] [00:57:00] Germaine: [00:57:00] Yeah. Maybe there’s a product to there.
[00:57:03] Eric: [00:57:03] Yeah.
[00:57:04] Germaine: [00:57:04] Top three mantras. You try and live by anything that you repeat to yourself. You say to yourself when, when the going gets a bit tough.
[00:57:12] Eric: [00:57:12] I don’t have like, strong, like, like specific phrases, but certainly in terms of how I approach support, that’s really to go just above and beyond. That’s probably the, the, you know, the run of words that I kind of have in mind there as well. And then in terms of how I develop the product is to go.
[00:57:36] Generally really deep on something and try to make this one thing as perfect as possible. Yeah. And so to really, to get, yeah. I just think of it as going deep on one particular issue, I suppose, and really solving that in the best possible way. Yeah. And so that’s those two kind of tie together for me, the, you know, going above and beyond and.
[00:57:59] Because [00:58:00] often the development happens in, in response to customer needs, customer needs.
[00:58:04] Germaine: [00:58:04] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think if you keep those two very close and sort of top of mind, it’s very hard to go wrong when it comes to, um, the kind of business that you’re in. I mean,
[00:58:14] Eric: [00:58:14] in most businesses, to be honest, if,
[00:58:16] Germaine: [00:58:16] if you make sure the customer’s happy and
[00:58:18] Eric: [00:58:18] you’re solving their problems as well, and there’s Mo.
[00:58:21] As, as thoroughly as possible. I think it’s
[00:58:23] Germaine: [00:58:23] very hard to go wrong there. Last one, top three people you follow or study and why?
[00:58:29] Eric: [00:58:29] I honestly, I don’t. Really have people I study too, to any great extent here. I did sort of have been fairly encouraged and challenged by the sort of the writing of Cal Newport who wrote deep work.
[00:58:48] And he’s written a few other things as well. And so, you know, so he’s. His writing has been very influential on me for quite a while in terms of how I, how I kind of work. [00:59:00] But mostly it really, I mean, I do read a lot, so I try to just, and I try to read broadly and just learn from what I can, where I can. So, yeah, I don’t really.
[00:59:13] I guess I don’t have specific people that always re well, I do have specific people that I’m always reading, but that’s not because of their ideas. It’s because I really liked their writing, writing. Yeah. This is a little bit different there, but yeah, but there’s, but it’s really just. You know, try, I think I’ve really learned the value of trying to, to learn from lots of different people and lots of different people’s perspective.
[00:59:37] And really, you know, I think that’s been the most profound thing that I’ve learned in the last couple of years is that, that there’s just, you know, there’s a lot to learn that way. Yeah.
[00:59:48] Germaine: [00:59:48] Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you for your time, Eric. It’s been really interesting, really fun to talk to someone about WordPress and WordPress plugins.
[00:59:56] This has been the first interview with, with someone who’s made their own plugin [01:00:00] and run a company that works with a WordPress plugin. So, yeah, thanks for the time. It’s been really fun.
[01:00:06] Eric: [01:00:06] No worries. Thanks Germaine.
[01:00:08] Outro: [01:00:08] Thank you for listening to the future tribe podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review on your podcast app.